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Criminal Law : First-Degree Murder – Confession – Sentencing

(1)Where a defendant convicted of first-degree murder sought to suppress his confession, which was made to a police chief who was a family friend, the court did not clearly err in overruling the defendant’s motion because the defendant did not show that officers exploited his friendship with the chief since the investigation was focused on a friend of the defendant’s, and the defendant repeatedly stated in recorded interviews that he was not threatened or pressured to confess and that he signed the Miranda waiver of his own free will, and the conviction is affirmed over the defendant’s challenges to closing arguments and allegations of evidentiary error, including the admission of autopsy photographs.

(2)Where a defendant in a first-degree murder case challenged the admission of a comment made by his father about the death penalty, the defendant did not show that the prosecutor’s isolated question improperly sought an opinion as to the appropriate sentence or that there was an impact on the penalty phase, and the court found in its independent review that the sentence was proportionate.

Judgment is affirmed.

State v. Collings (MLW No. 66834/Case No. SC92720 – 51 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Draper III, J.; Russell, C.J., Breckenridge, Stith, Wilson and Teitelman, JJ., concur; Fischer, J., concurs in separate opinion filed) Appealed from circuit court, Phelps County, Sheffield, J. (Rosemary M. Percival, Kansas City, Missouri, for appellant) (Richard A. Starnes, Jefferson City, for respondent).

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